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What is the real difference between all the IMX571 cameras?

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#1 Ar3s701

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 02:08 PM

I've seen threads on these before but they mainly focused in on one camera. Here are all the IMX571 mono sensor cameras I found:

 

Screenshot 2023-03-04 110225.jpg

 

Now from what I've found, the ATR3 is the base Chinese camera that gets reskinned for a lot of companies. For some reason, the ASI2600MM is the only camera where the buffer cache is less than anyone else despite look exactly like any other ATR3 reskin and I can't find a reason as to why that may be. The QHY camera is also the only other camera with a different cache size at 1GB instead of the standard 512MB. Poseidon make a unique looking camera but is also the only camera on the list that uses Type-C USB instead of the USB 3.0 plug. I could not figure out why the ATIK APX26M camera was so expensive. About the only thing different it has going for it was the fact that I believe it had a build in desiccant container to reduce moisture. The price was just insane though. The Moravian camera was cool for the fact that it can come with an internal filter wheel, but looks like it is more geared towards a university setting and not your average astrophotographer.

 

All of these cameras have similar features like no amp glow, cooling, dew heater, and industrial (not consumer) grade IMX571 chips. Well, I believe ZWO is the only manufacturer using consumer grade rather than industrial. Research into the difference between the too mainly points towards a slightly longer lifespan in the industrial chips.

 

ToupTek appears to make the majority of these IMX571 cameras for just about any vendor you can think of (Risingcam, TS-Optics, OGMA, Orion, etc.).

 

So then what are the real differences between these cameras? Quality control? Drivers? What makes one stand out above the other besides brand recognition?


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#2 hyiger

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 02:23 PM

I can guess that the larger cache would only be useful for planetary, like faster frame rates without dropping frames. Or if your USB ports are super busy so you don't drop the frame. I don't use my ASI2600 for video and have my guide camera plugged into the hub on my main camera and haven't noticed any frame drop issues. So it seems 256MB is probably enough. As for price, I doubt there is much difference (I can look on Mouser) between a 256MB and 512MB DDR3 RAM. In the case of the QHY268M it's maybe just a marketing gimmick. 

 

I bought the ASI2600 over other cameras so I could use it with the air. Plus it's a popular camera so there is a lot of online info available. 


Edited by hyiger, 04 March 2023 - 02:27 PM.

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#3 Ar3s701

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 02:28 PM

I can guess that the larger cache would only be useful for planetary, like faster frame rates without dropping frames. Or if your USB ports are super busy so you don't drop the frame. I don't use my ASI2600 for video and have my guide camera plugged into the hub on my main camera and haven't noticed any frame drop issues. So it seems 256MB is probably enough. 

 

I bought the ASI2600 over other cameras so I could use it with the air. Plus it's a popular camera so there is a lot of online info available. 

One thing that was never mentioned was the frequency of the DDR3 in any of the systems, but worst case scenario you can get 8.5 GB/s transfer rates from the slowest DDR3. USB3.0 has a limit of about 4.8 Gbps (0.6 GB/s). The USB Type-C has a transfer rate of up to 10 Gbps (1.25 GB/s). So theoretically the Poseidon camera has the edge on transfer rates no matter how you look at it.



#4 Guest99

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 02:31 PM

 

 

All of these cameras have similar features like no amp glow, cooling, dew heater, and industrial (not consumer) grade IMX571 chips. Well, I believe ZWO is the only manufacturer using consumer grade rather than industrial. Research into the difference between the too mainly points towards a slightly longer lifespan in the industrial chips.

 

I suspect cost is a major factor in using consumer grade components, the industrial components would have a longer Mean Time To Failure rate, better specifications ( temperature etc) and cost more.

 

So a cynic would say ZWO is saving themselves a load of money in cheaper components with a shorter lifetime so the equipment will not last as long which means the consumer will buy new stuff as the cost of sending it back to ZWO for repair could be higher than a new camera. Pity ZWO hasn't got more local repair  centres as in the UK the dealers say they would have to send it back to ZWO at a cost if the unit is out of warranty.



#5 hyiger

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 02:40 PM

I've used the 2600 at full resolution over USB-2 on an ASIAir mini without frame drops so (at least in my experience) any cache larger than that probably would only be useful for taking pressure off the camera CPU which could (in theory) decrease power requirements. As for ZWO building in "planned obsolescence" I suppose that's standard, smart business practice. Anyway, if my camera lasts 5 years I'll probably be in the mood to upgrade to the latest and greatest sensor at that point. 


Edited by hyiger, 04 March 2023 - 02:42 PM.


#6 andysea

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 03:31 PM

I believe the Moravian also has a mechanical shutter.



#7 Martinez

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 03:50 PM

Hi all. My name is Juan Martinez and I lead OGMA.

I’m very interested in this topic, and I can't wait to read all your comments. I’ll be checking from time to time.

If you have specific questions about the OGMA brand, feel free to ask.


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#8 Ar3s701

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Posted 04 March 2023 - 04:52 PM

Hi all. My name is Juan Martinez and I lead OGMA.

I’m very interested in this topic, and I can't wait to read all your comments. I’ll be checking from time to time.

If you have specific questions about the OGMA brand, feel free to ask.

Hello Juan,

 

Wasn't expecting to draw attention from a supplier so that is super cool. I read more into your company and it appears you have a service/repair shop in the US which is a fairly big plus in my case. 

 

Am I correct in assuming that your IMX571 cameras are sourced through ToupTek as a reskinned ATR3? Have you ever received bad batches from your supplier? Is there anything that sets your equipment aside from your competitors? How frequently are software and drivers evaluated?

 

Thanks in advance for your responses.



#9 Rasfahan

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 11:00 AM

These ATR3 cameras are all made by Touptek - if you order from them in bulk, they will apply custom branding to the camera, firmware and drivers. I also believe the Altair cams are rebranded Touptek (but I could be wrong).

 

The difference to the other cameras is in the housing, the build quality, the accessories, how they attach, the drivers and the service:

  • The Touptek cameras have a T2 threaded opening. Even though this seems small, it will not vignette even on very fast optics. You need to source "generic" filter wheels (with a larger aperture on the telescope side to not vignette) and OAG. The distance to the filters will be at least 20mm, so you need 2" filters. I have only come across versions with the consumer sensor (or the sensor type not mentioned - considering the cost of these cameras, I assume those have the consumer sensor, too). They include a USB hub on the back. The USB port is very flimsy, as it is not attached to the case but only to the mainboard. Their ASCOM and INDI drivers are very stable. The sensor in mine is only roughly perpendicular to the housing (i. e. serious tilt). Service needs to be done by sending the camera back to China, with all that entails. Risingcam asked me to do fraudulent paperwork for customs when I tried to return a defective camera. They will get no further business from me.
  • QHY works with a dovetail attachment to the filterwheel and a bolted-on OAG with a M54 or M48 thread on the telescope side. They also provide handy bolt-on spacers. I found the filterwheel prone to failure because of how the motor is attached. I've opened and fixed my filterwheel four times in a year now. The OAG has a small prism. The distance to the filters will be very small, so 36mm filters are sufficient even on fast optics. The "standard" version uses a consumer sensor but an industrial sensor is available. The camera has a custom serial plug for the filterwheel but no USB port. The USB input port is also very flimsy and only attached to the mainboard, not the case. It can be had with a fibre connection. My sample has almost no sensor tilt. QHY has service centres in Europe and the US. Their online service is extremely responsive and helpful. The ASCOM driver is stable. I have not tried the INDI driver, but the INDI driver for the QHY294M+FW is not in a working state.
  • The ZWO ASI2600MM has a bolt-on attachment to the filterwheel, OAG and an end-plate that also serves as a basic tilt adjustment. That end-plate is available in M42, M48, M54 and M68. Unfortunately, these attachments are not baffled, so light leaks occur between them. The camera has a two-port USB hub. Duct tape will help here. The OAG-L has a comparatively large prism which is extremely handy for slower telescopes. The OAG can also leak light past the guiding camera. The distance to the filters will be very small, so 36mm filters are sufficient even on fast optics. My sample has no measurable sensor tilt, but the first filter-wheel and some of the threaded adapters introduce major tilt in my train. The ASCOM drivers are stable. I have not tried INDI drivers. ZWO has service centres in Europe (TS) and the US. Also, replacement parts can be bought from TS.
  • The Moravian is available with an internal filterwheel, extended cooling, mechanical shutter. and ethernet connectivity. Attachment to the external filterwheel and OAG are by bolt-on (I believe dovetailed) attachments. Its minimum backspace with filterwheel and OAG is 62 mm unfortunately, ruling it out from many applications. The filter-to-sensor distance works for 36mm filters. It is available with consumer and industrial sensors. I have no personal experience with them, but I've seen some of their CCD cameras and they are in another league with regards to build quality. I also can't comment on driver stability. They are located in the EU and have no service center in the US.
  • I have no experience with the Atik CMOS. My Atik CCD camera has been most pleasurable to use, though.

Edited by Rasfahan, 05 March 2023 - 11:01 AM.

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#10 nelsonsousa

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 02:23 PM

From what I could gather, the touptek rebrands don’t have an adjustable tilt plane, whereas ZWO, QHY, Atik, Moravian and Player one Poseidon do (Player one is adjustable from the back, others from the front. That would explain some of the price difference between touptek and non-touptek cameras.

#11 Rasfahan

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 03:03 PM

From what I could gather, the touptek rebrands don’t have an adjustable tilt plane, whereas ZWO, QHY, Atik, Moravian and Player one Poseidon do (Player one is adjustable from the back, others from the front. That would explain some of the price difference between touptek and non-touptek cameras.

Touptek has a new model which includes a tilt adapter. QHY does not have one. The ZWO one is badly designed, you need to disassemble the camera train from the telescope to access the adjustment bolts. The Moravian one seems to be accessible from the side, with image train attached,



#12 Paul Romero

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 03:43 PM

hi all,

The Touptek price is incredible, amazing. It’s hard to believe it’s for a mono camera. The player one mono comes in a “bundle”, too, for $200 more. They advertise no light leaks in between components.

I really like the Moravians, and I would invest in one if one camera is all I needed.

Clear Skies,

Paul

#13 Ar3s701

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 11:03 PM

If you are wondering, this is the absolute cheapest I've found the ATR3.

 

https://www.lapsun.c...sky-p-1561.html

 

Now I've seen reviews of the Risingcam that give it praise, but also know that praise disappears if you need service. I've also read quite a few comments that have said in order to get service on their ZWO cameras, they needed to send it back to China from the US in a really bad turn around.

 

The Player One Poseidon-M Pro is one that has been sticking out to me. The tilt plate is nice, but my TS-Optic Image Star has a tilt plate built into it so I'm not sure how much better tilt correction at the image sensor is to me. Really wish that it was about $200 cheaper.

 

If I didn't care about the money, I would totally buy one of the cheapest ATR3 cameras for science and report back the results.


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#14 avarakin

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 11:05 PM

Keep in mind that touptek comes in 2 flavors: AR glass which is more expensive and IR glass which is cheaper but cuts red signal. Different sellers seem to be giving different cutoff wave length, but I doubt that touptek would bother making different filters for different sellers. I read that it is not recommended buying IR cut version. I have touptek and Orion G26 versions and they seem to be identical.

#15 Ar3s701

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Posted 05 March 2023 - 11:15 PM

Keep in mind that touptek comes in 2 flavors: AR glass which is more expensive and IR glass which is cheaper but cuts red signal. Different sellers seem to be giving different cutoff wave length, but I doubt that touptek would bother making different filters for different sellers. I read that it is not recommended buying IR cut version. I have touptek and Orion G26 versions and they seem to be identical.

You are right, here is the AR version from that same cheapo Chinese warehouse:

 

https://www.lapsun.c...sky-p-1567.html

 

Also, Touptek does make the Orion G26 from what I've read.



#16 DeepSky Di

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Posted 06 March 2023 - 03:05 AM

 

  • The ZWO ASI2600MM has a bolt-on attachment to the filterwheel, OAG and an end-plate that also serves as a basic tilt adjustment. That end-plate is available in M42, M48, M54 and M68. Unfortunately, these attachments are not baffled, so light leaks occur between them. The camera has a two-port USB hub. 

ZWO is bringing out darkening rings: https://astronomy-im...g-rings-d88-d90


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#17 Rasfahan

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Posted 06 March 2023 - 04:51 AM

ZWO is bringing out darkening rings: https://astronomy-im...g-rings-d88-d90

I appreciate ZWO trying to solve problems their customers experience.

 

But I think these are a bad band-aid solution to the underlying problem. They are another source of tilt and they eat up precious backspace. If they are made from plastic, they are a source of flex. I also don’t see any baffles on them, so if they are from metal, the light will now leak between the new contact planes. 

 

They should instead redesign the attachments, so there are baffles inside covering the gap. 

 

These really are problems that shouldn‘t occur because even very simple testing will bring them up in the prototypes (close the front cover, shine light from outside, check for leaks). ZWO and QHY really are prone to these design blunders.


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#18 Martinez

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Posted 06 March 2023 - 12:15 PM

Responding specifically to the questions posted by @Ar3s701 - Thank you for asking.

 

You are right, we can currently repair most technical issues here in the US. We plan for full coverage in the future.


As you mentioned, our manufacturing partner for the cameras that have the IMX571 sensor is Touptek. These cameras share some common elements with the ATR3 platform. A shared platform doesn’t provide a sense of uniqueness, which is awful for the marketing folks, but it has many advantages for our customers. For instance, developing a new platform is incredibly difficult and expensive, and these costs are passed on to the customers. Since we are on a mission to make astronomy more accessible for everybody, we are focused on passing savings on to our customers. Having said this, the ATR3 platform has evolved over time. For instance, the cooling system shipped with our cameras is a newer and improved version.

 

Re: your question about bad batches, I can't speak for others, but we test and inspect every single camera here in the US before shipping. We try to make it very difficult for a defective unit to reach a customer. If that ever happens, we have a 30-day return policy, a 1-year limited warranty, and we are here ready to help.


In terms of driver updates, we have a very efficient feedback loop with the software engineers. An additional advantage of a shared platform is that when a driver issue is detected by one of the brands, the fix also reaches the others. Every month we check for updates, and if there is a new fix, we publish a new version of the driver. Just to give you an idea of the speed, we found that our driver needed some changes in order to be adopted by the INDI platform. These changes were done in a matter of days (less than a week) and now the amazing developers of the INDI platform are ready to support the integration of OGMA cameras with the update released at the end of March 2023.

 

In terms of what sets OGMA apart, I can think of multiple things, but the most important is that we are totally customer-centered, and I don’t mean this lightly. We are long-term users of everything that we sell. We “eat our own dog food” in order to make it better. For instance, our less experienced team members had a hard time choosing a filter and they often improperly closed their magnetic filter drawers, which produced light leaks over a few night sessions. To prevent this from happening to our customers, we designed and manufactured a no-frill, foolproof filter holder that has no room for light leaks, and we worked with a leading filter manufacturer to acquire a large volume of UV/IR Cut filters. Now we are shipping a filter kit with every camera, and we are soliciting feedback from our customers to determine if it makes sense to continue adding the kit to the cameras.


As a practical consumer, it is my personal belief that at the end of the day, when multiple competing brands use similar sensors, when circuitry is relatively similar, and when firmware is more or less comparable, the most important thing that sets brands apart is how devoted they are to their customers, how much they listen and have in common with their customers, and what price they charge for products that are perceived similar enough to belong on the same comparison table like the one at the beginning of this thread.

I’ll pause there. Curious to know what you all think?


Edited by Martinez, 06 March 2023 - 12:16 PM.

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#19 avarakin

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Posted 06 March 2023 - 11:31 PM

If you are wondering, this is the absolute cheapest I've found the ATR3.

https://www.lapsun.c...sky-p-1561.html

Now I've seen reviews of the Risingcam that give it praise, but also know that praise disappears if you need service. I've also read quite a few comments that have said in order to get service on their ZWO cameras, they needed to send it back to China from the US in a really bad turn around.

The Player One Poseidon-M Pro is one that has been sticking out to me. The tilt plate is nice, but my TS-Optic Image Star has a tilt plate built into it so I'm not sure how much better tilt correction at the image sensor is to me. Really wish that it was about $200 cheaper.

If I didn't care about the money, I would totally buy one of the cheapest ATR3 cameras for science and report back the results.

Me and my friend bought 4 of AR version from lapsun. They ship pretty fast and it takes about a week to arrive. Out of 4 cams one was a lemon (very high noise) and after some back and forth they agreed to replace the camera.

Edited by avarakin, 06 March 2023 - 11:33 PM.


#20 Ar3s701

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 08:29 AM

Another question for OGMA. What is the filter wheel and OAG you recommend with the AP26MC?


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#21 Lead_Weight

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 08:55 AM

As someone else mentioned the Poseidon has a rear facing tilt mechanism (making it easier to adjust), it's also a 4 point adjustment vs. many others which are 3 point. So it's top, bottom, left and right which makes for a better adjustment. Also, initial sales are coming with a free guide camera. But you might need to check the website to see if that's still the case. Mine came with one.



#22 Ar3s701

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 10:26 AM

As someone else mentioned the Poseidon has a rear facing tilt mechanism (making it easier to adjust), it's also a 4 point adjustment vs. many others which are 3 point. So it's top, bottom, left and right which makes for a better adjustment. Also, initial sales are coming with a free guide camera. But you might need to check the website to see if that's still the case. Mine came with one.

Doesn't look like the free guide cam is going on anymore. Unless you found that on a dealer site and not the Player One site.

 

https://player-one-a...-cooled-camera/

 

What guide cam came with yours?



#23 Martinez

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 01:32 PM

Another question for OGMA. What is the filter wheel and OAG you recommend with the AP26MC?

Shall we take this question to a new thread? I'm conscious about deviating from your original topic.



#24 A. Viegas

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 02:05 PM

Those are some really cheap prices. How about the imx455 sensor. Any super cheap good ones for that sensor yet?

#25 Ar3s701

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 02:13 PM

So Player One claims that their IMX571 sensors have a better full well. Is there a practical benefit to that or is it just marketing?

 

 

Poseidon-M Pro cooled camera has 71.7Ke full well, it’s over 1.4 times than IMX571 Basic (50ke).




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